Plenty of spokes and full wheelwrights - but I do not see any one selling hickory felloes... I would like to build the press illustrated on this site...
I don't believe you can expect the spokes that are made for the demountable, steel felloe wheels to work with wood felloe wheels. They definitely would not work with 30 x 3 wheels.
Also, the complete unit - spokes and felloes - are pressed into the rim or the rim is heated and shrunk onto the felloe with the spokes already installed. It's not the same procedure as pressing spokes into a steel felloe.
Erik J pretty well got it. The wooden felloe wheels varied too much from company to company and batch to batch, for ready-made spokes and felloes to work reliably for most people.
I wish they were available. I have reworked enough wood felloe wheels and mixed and matched spokes and felloes that I could use them and make the wheels good, straight, and tight. A couple of wheelwrights that used to offer spokes and felloes stopped because too many people were sending back broken and ruined parts complaining that it was "done wrong" by the wheelwright that made the felloes and spokes. Except for running production of all exactly matched wheels, the wood fellied wheels MUST be carefully fit and trimmed before attempting to press them together. Off slightly one way? The wheel will become useless quickly because it will be too loose somewhere. Off slightly another way? It will be crushed or broken attempting to assemble it (done that a few times myself). It is not that difficult. But very tricky with a lot of details to be careful with.
Yes, the press is for steel felloe wheels. For wood felloe wheels I sent the metal parts (hubs, rims, bolts, etc.) to Noah Stutzman and got back beautiful new wheels. If I ever need more wood felloe wheels I'll do the same.
I rebuilt my wood spoke/wood felloe wheels myself, shimming the original wood to get them tight again. I did a TON of research beforehand so I would know exactly what I was getting into before I started, almost to the point that I'd like to think that I'm a wheelwright.
The press method you're talking about works only for wheels with the metal felloes. But keep in mind that the metal felloes are much more forgiving than the wood ones.
With the metal felloes, if the spokes get loose, they will still stay in place, unless the tennons break off, which isn't all that likely. That is NOT to say that they are safe to drive on with loose spokes... It's just that a chance of catastrophic failure is less likely.
The key word with wood felloes is FRICTION. Those felloes must be tight up against the rim! Yes, there are rivets that hold the felloes to the rim, but they are really only a backup if something gets loose. They are not meant to transmit the torque from the felloes to the rim. There are only 6 of them, and they're just soft iron. Instead, it is done by sheer friction. You can imagine what could happen if that wood was to get loose! Those rivets will inevitably sheer off, and there goes your wheel!
For the wood felloe wheels, the way to do them was to assemble the spokes into the felloes and put the hub in the middle. You would heat the rim up in a fire pit, then place it over the nearly completed wheel, allowing it to cool and shrink onto the felloes, making for a tight wheel.
Now you don't have to use heat. You can also press the felloes into the rim. That's how Ford did it at the factory. I made a press out of a large, round piece of wood with a hole in the middle for the hub to pass through. I then used a bunch of C-clamps, all tightened evenly, to press the felloes, spokes, and hub assembly into the rim. It took forever, but the results where quite good.
Fitting of the wood on a wood felloe wheel is CRUCIAL! Now to be honest, getting the felloes/spokes/hub to be tight in the rim isn't all that difficult. Now getting it to be tight AND making the wheel concentric is a challenge! Otherwise, you'll go down the road feeling like you're in a clown car.
It is completely wrong to say that you can't do new wood spokes and felloes yourself. You certainly can, but it takes a lot of work, care, fitting, and total unwillingness to accept anything less than absolutely perfect (i.e.; the patience of a saint).
I redid my wheels about 5 years ago. I check them regularly and they are all still nice and tight. However, I was lucky and all my original wood was in good shape. They just needed to ne tightened. Doing it from scratch is a completely different ball game!
All this being said, I second the motion to send your wheels to Stutzman's.
Hope this helps!
My front two felloes had come quite loose from the metal rim. All the wood on these was in great shape. I did manage to shim them last year - following the instructions I found on this site. (using flashing around the outside of the felloe and pressed the wheel back into the rim). This worked great and both are nice and tight and run true. One of my rear wheels is very tight but I can see a crack or splitting in the felloe where one of the spokes enters. It is fairly minor and appears to have split a long time ago. I guess I will need to bite the bullet if I see this change in any way...
Very good description. And for that mechanical press, this is one from the period still in use today by a well known wheelwright as part of the process to get those wood felloe wheels tight and true.
George Garrigan advertises in the VF and has a shop in N Cal. He makes some nice wheels!
Here's the Model T wheelwright list:
Anderson’s Wooden Wheels
Dale Anderson – Owner-Operator
Box 1433, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Canada S6V 5S9
Phone (306) 763-4049
Fax (306) 763-4018
Calimer's Wheel Shop
30 East North St.
Waynesboro, PA 17268
Johnson's Wood Wheels
300 Ingleside Drive*
Ardmore, OK 73401
*Mail only; contact for shipping address
33656 County Rd 12
Baltic, OH 43804
Vintage Wheel Shop
19842 Via Redondo
Sonora, CA 95370